The Best And Worst Of WWE Money In The Bank 2013

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Please click through to enjoy the Best and Worst of WWE Money In The Bank 2013.

Best: Damien Sandow And Cody Rhodes, Or “If You’re Gonna Break Up Rhodes Scholars, Do It Like This”


Second things first, I’m sad to see the official end of a tag team and best friendship I not only loved, but had a role in naming. In a perfect world, Damien Sandow and Cody Rhodes could’ve managed their more heelish tendencies and remained friends forever, though promo interruptions, championship opportunities and Bella swaps. They could’ve done what any great rogues gallery does — hate each other deep down, but stick together out of the common interest of being henchman to the vague, sweeping ideology of Guys Who Cheat.

If you didn’t see the match, Cody Rhodes is a star. He got all of the best moments in the match, bled like a boss at the end and got the crowd behind him en masse without them having to chant about his mustache. Cody’s GREAT, and I think people are finally starting to see that. He got a few moments where it looked like he was gonna pull it off, but at the very end he dumps Dean Ambrose onto everyone on the outside and starts climbing and you’re like HERE IT IS, CODY RHODES, WORLD CHAMPION. And then ho ho ho hoooo no, Damien Sandow emerges from the shadows and tosses Cody to his doom before stealing the match himself.

If you’re gonna break up Rhodes Scholars, this is how you do it. Damien Sandow is a scumbag midcarder of the highest order (and I mean that as a compliment … he’s a Million Dollar Man, not a Hulk Hogan) and Cody is a handsome young guy who is wrestling royalty and has been putting on great matches with everyone from Daniel Bryan to Sin Cara with little-to-no fanfare from the company. Cody and Damien get a solid undercard feud with (hopefully) several great, purposeful matches, Sandow gets to be underhanded as f**k and Cody gets to rise above “get it, mustache” and become a Real WWE Thing. That’s all positive. I’m looking forward to it.

Pour one out for Rhodes Scholars, everybody. Weep not for the memories.

Worst: Spots That Are Not Worth The Effort It Takes To Do Them

The Smackdown ladder match was fun (and way, way better than the Raw one), but it was full of moments that were cool on paper, but absolutely not necessary or worth the effort they took to pull off.

For example, check out poor Dean Ambrose trying to “skin the cat” on a ladder being held up by Jack Swagger and Antonio Cesaro. On paper, it reads “Ambrose has the ladder around his neck, Cesaro and Swagger try to pick him up while he’s trapped in it, Ambrose slithers up on top of it and tries to grab the briefcase, Cesaro and Swagger dump him to the outside.” That SOUNDS great, right? In reality, what happens is that Ambrose has the ladder around his neck and Cesaro and Swagger pick him up with it, but that doesn’t make any sense because Ambrose is holding the ladder with his hands. It’s not trapped around his head. He isn’t being babysat by DJ Tanner and getting his head stuck in a staircase or whatever. So they pick him up, and he could just, I don’t know, let go and run away, but he doesn’t. He tries to skin the cat quickly, but he messes it up, so Cesaro and Swagger have to stand there holding a ladder for no reason and making OH NO faces while Ambrose keeps trying it. He finally gets up, and instead of immediately dumping him over like they should, Cesaro and Swagger stagger around for a bit before walking him to the side of the ring and throwing him down. If it’d happened in 10 seconds it would’ve been great. In 45? Not so much.

Another example is Cesaro standing on Swagger’s shoulders to try to reach the briefcase. On paper it’s cool. In reality, it doesn’t make a lot of sense. Does Swagger not want the briefcase now? When Cody was springboarding in, I thought for sure he was gonna soar in and Disaster kick Cesaro off Swagger’s shoulders, but nope, he just dropkicks Swagger and everybody kinda falls over. Meanwhile, the crowd probably would’ve done the same OOOH and THIS IS AWESOME chants if Cesaro had just been launching the ladder into peoples’ faces.

(I’m just sad Cesaro didn’t deadlift gutwrench anybody + a ladder)

Best: Brad Maddox, Ultimate Dirtbag

How backhanded and scummy was Brad Maddox, introducing a condescending Vickie Guerrero video package? He is going to be so, so good at this job. I’m gonna start calling him Teen John Laurinaitis.

And I’ll be honest, about halfway through the video package I was trying to remember moments that should be in it. Sure enough, there’s the Hardee’s cheeseburger. The only thing missing was the Custody Of Dominic ladder match, and maybe that time she accepted Eddie’s Hall of Fame induction and we hadn’t yet decided that shaming a widow was the most fun thing ever.

Best: Miz Has Been Reading Best And Worst

Over the last several weeks, I’ve written about how if The Miz is gonna do the figure-four leg lock, he needed to do everything that goes with it. Most Miz matches involve him throwing kicks to the head and clotheslines, then locking on the figure-four out of nowhere and getting an instant tap-out despite never once touching his opponent’s leg. The figure-four is a submission hold, not a Fire Pro critical. People sell that shit like it’s a Burning Hammer.

In last night’s match against Curtis Axel, Miz did two very important things:

1. work the leg early in the match, because later you’re gonna try to win with a figure-four, and
2. integrate figure-four drama into the move, instead of just doing it and ending the match

What I mean by that is the “color” of the figure-four … when Flair would do it, he wouldn’t just lock it in and grimace until you gave up, he’d always try to work it and make it worse for you. He’d try to grab the ropes for leverage or throw his arm up to illustrate where he was turning and what he was doing. He’d let the guy he put it on turn him over and “reverse” it before rolling back and regaining control. Miz hadn’t been doing any of that, but boom, there he is with his fist in the air, trying to keep Curtis Axel from turning him. I thought it was pretty stupid that he teased tapping out to his own finish being reversed instead of just getting out of it (he’s supposed to be the master of it, and all), but whatever, this is a great improvement.

Worst: AJ Lee’s “Before They Were Stars” Picture Is From Like Two Years Ago

Hey guys, AJ on NXT is not exactly angsty teen CM Punk with his spiky Nigel McGuinness hair. Couldn’t you have at least grabbed a pic from this?

Best/Worst: The Divas Match Was Okay, But Something About AJ Lee Is Bothering Me

Speaking of AJ, I appreciated that the Divas Championship match with Kaitlyn was just a straight-forward wrestling match that ended clean in the middle of the ring with a submission hold, but I picked up on something I’m not gonna be able to put down.

I watched the show with former Cleveland-area pro wrestler Crew Spence, and he pointed out that while small wrestlers are a valuable part of the pro wrestling scene (he’s one himself, after all), AJ is SO little that it’s hard for him to take her seriously. I didn’t agree with him until he pointed out that when she bumps it doesn’t make noise, and now that’s all I can see. Seriously, pay attention to it … when she lands, the ring doesn’t move and it doesn’t make a sound. She’s legitimately what, 60 pounds? She bumps her ass off, but the normal human weight necessary to make wrestling sounds happen just isn’t there. When Kaitlyn jumps and land, shit moves.

Of course, that’s not really AJ’s fault or anything, but it’s crazy distracting. Objectively, Kaitlyn should be able to wreck her in a heartbeat, but since AJ’s the heel now she’s got to control the match and win almost all of it, so you’ve got this tiny baby-sized person who couldn’t shake the ring if she dove into it headfirst from the top rope beating the mess out of a 160-pound shoot bodybuilder. Imagine a Daniel Bryan match where Bryan puts Mark Henry in a bunch of standing hammerlocks and Henry can’t do anything about, and just lies around helplessly. It’d be pretty cool, probably, but you get what I’m saying.

I still like AJ a lot (way more than Crew, for the record), but it’s something legit to point out. AJ as a spunky underdog in tartan-and-skulls ring gear getting thrown around by other women? Yes. AJ in jorts and a t-shirt, being a dominant ring general? Not so much.

And as a side note, I was at the NXT tapings in Florida this week on the first day of operation for the new Performance Center and got to see a few dozen new WWE wrestlers on their first day of work (including Sami Callihan!), and they hired at least five Divas who are AJ’s size or smaller. They entered the building in a group, and it looked like a middle school field trip. So look for AJ to remain on top of the division for a long time, and for her opponents to gradually shrink until AJ is Regular-Sized. And I assume Kaitlyn will be that division’s Kane.

Worst: You Aren’t Helping, Virgil

I still don’t know why Layla’s out here. Why does Kaitlyn need a friend at ringside all the time? Does she really think Layla can balance out an attack from Big E Langston? And what happened to Natalya? Wasn’t SHE Kaitlyn’s nosy friend?

Best: Kofi Kingston Is Either A Terrible Analyst, Or A Joke About Terrible Analysts

I don’t want to ruin my streak of saying nice things about Kofi or pretend like WWE wants their “analysts” to actually analyze what happened in the ring, but man, watching Kofi Kingston try to make a point is like watching Miss South Carolina answer a question about Iraq. Here’s a transcript, from memory:

Kofi: “What I want to talk about is how Damien Sandow is Mr. Money In The Bank! Cody Rhodes, you see him in the match, he’s upset. He’s sad. He lost the match. And the difference is that Cody Rhodes is sad, and Damien Sandow is Mr. Money In The Bank. How is this gonna affect Cody Rhodes? I want to know. Damien Sandow won the match, and now Cody Rhodes did not.”

It’s either

1. A guy who has no idea what to say trying to say something observant and failing
2. A guy who probably could say something constructive about the match, but was told to talk to the WWE Universe like they’re three years old
3. A brilliant statement on pro sports’ tendency to put former players in a suit and ask them to explain football or whatever, several years after they’ve stopped playing a game that irreparably damaged their brains

In conclusion, I think Kofi Kingston, such as.


As we all know, Goldberg was famous for rolling a guy up in desperation and getting lucky!

Jericho vs. Ryback was pretty bad to me, mostly because of WWE’s weird fascination with making Ryback the most helpless, vulnerable dude in the company. What exactly are they doing with him? Chris Jericho’s regularly beating up/mocking a pro wrestler for getting hurt in a match (on the show constantly prefaced with DON’T TRY THIS AT HOME, THEY GET HURT FOR REAL messages) who is twice his size, who spent his first year as that character trouncing two people at once. Imagine if WCW had built up Goldberg like they did, and after he lost to Kevin Nash via cattle prod they had him loe matches on Nitro to Billy Kidman via injury forfeit, then barely beat Kwee Wee with roll-ups. And I know, Jericho’s way better than Kwee Wee, but they have the same haircut.

They did something similar with Mark Henry, which I’ll get to later. Create loves creating unstoppable monsters, exposing said monsters, then having them stick around to lose to everybody for five years. Hey Ryback, enjoy the next time Fandango chopblocks The Great Khali and pins him with his feet on the ropes or whatever, that’s you in 2014.

Best: They Sent Bo Dallas Out To Wrestle In Front Of Reporters Because They’re The Only People Who Won’t Boo Bo Dallas


Also, you’d think Stephanie would know how to properly ring a ring bell, but nope, there she is hitting it like it’s a hammer and nail. DONK DONK

Worst: Uh, Hey Cameraman, You Probably Shouldn’t Be Filming This

As you know if you’ve been reading the Raw columns over the last few months, I LOVE Alberto Del Rio and Dolph Ziggler matches. This was no exception. They go together like peanut butter and jelly. Del Rio’s such a natural in the ring that he can reliably be wherever Ziggler needs him to be or do whatever Ziggler needs him to do to pull off one of those five-step spots Ziggler loves so much, and Ziggler’s ridiculous bumping makes Del Rio’s offense look brilliant in a way a thousand John Cena and CM Punk losses never could.

That said, the day after I only remember the finish to the match, and it was a doozy. Del Rio and Ziggler go down, so they cue up AJ Lee’s music. Instead of the production team jumping to the TitanTron (or at least moving in that direction), we held on the wrestlers and watched them lie in the middle of the ring having a conversation. It was horrible. It wasn’t the wrestlers’ fault, they assumed the cameras were all on AJ.

And speaking of AJ,

Worst: And Now AJ Lee Interferes For No Raisin!

The Team Rocket breakup is the opposite of the Rhodes Scholars breakup. Sandow and Rhodes have a legit beef with each other now, and can move into a feud that should elevate one or both of them to main-event status because they’re great pro wrestlers and even better characters.

In contrast, here’s how the Team Rocket breakup is playing out. Dolph Ziggler returned from a concussion to compete too early and lost his World Heavyweight Championship. AJ was there at ringside with him, crying about his loss. Weeks pass and AJ’s busy winning/defending the Divas Championship, and Dolph approaches her backstage with this weird, needy “you aren’t at ringside with me, WHERE ARE YOU WHAT’RE YOU DOING” thing. AJ says she’s sorry, and that she’ll be at ringside with him. Money in the Bank arrives, and Ziggler once again comes out alone. Midway through his match, AJ shows up. Dolph starts getting distracted BY HIS OWN VALET who is TRYING TO HELP HIM, yelling at her to leave, despite previously yelling at her for not being there. She enters the ring for no reason and hits Del Rio with the Divas Championship, causing a DQ. Instead of playing it like she did it in response to him being an asshole to her (which they still might), they play it up like she’s trying to help and incompetent at doing so, despite adeptly cheating for herself AND Ziggler for the past six months. Ziggler berates her in the ring and leaves her standing there crying.

None of that makes sense. Ziggler doesn’t know what he wants. AJ’s character and reactions are inconsistent. Ziggler’s upset at the lady who is always at ringside with him being at ringside, and even madder that the lady who always cheats for him tried to cheat for him. It’s another example of WWE telling the beginning and end of a story without bothering with the reason, logic and plot development in-between.



Lawler and Cole both look at the screen, too, but they look away when they’re talking or listening to the other talk. Bradshaw just glares at the screen the entire time with a blank smile on his face. Creeps me out. There’s a 50% chance he’s just Paul London in a rubber mask pretending to be JBL and we’ve never noticed.

Worst: Spoiler Alert, John Cena Wins

And now in “things we knew were gonna happen but hoped wouldn’t,” here’s John Cena making Mark Henry tap out in the middle of the ring.

The last thing you need in a wrestling column on the Internet is another five paragraphs about how John Cena sucks, but it’s so incredibly unfortunate that a character with as much depth and passion as Mark Henry ends his story by tapping out like a wiener to John Cena’s horrible-looking STF. Sure, they might throw him into a rematch with Cena (and possibly Ryback) in a battle of JOHN CENA VS. TWO MONSTERS WHO WON’T STOP CRYING AND FAILING at SummerSlam, but THIS was Mark’s moment. If he was ever gonna take the title from Cena, this is where he should’ve done it. Instead, there he is limply tapping out. Because he is the World’s Strongest Man and an unstoppable monster. Patting the mat like Angela Bower giving somebody a hug.

Ah well. I think we all wanted that Cena/Randy Orton main-event anyway, right kids?

Best: The Wyatt Family Recap Video Is Legitimately Better Than The Last Hour Of This PPV

I was lucky enough to see the Wyatt Family’s last appearance on NXT during the latest tapings, and without spoiling anything for you, I’m gonna say buy Hulu Plus right now. It’s like a brilliant conductor at the end of his masterpiece.

Best: RVD Is Back, And … Well, He Doesn’t Really Do Much, But At Least He Looks Better Than He Did In TNA

A constantly reiterated point in these columns is that Rob Van Dam is my least favorite wrestler and hasn’t done or said anything new since he broke out the Van Terminator in that one ECW PPV match with Scotty Riggs back in the long long ago, but I get that his name still has a lot of value to wrestling audiences, and I don’t mind nostalgia for shitty old guys if it doesn’t get in the way of the futures of the talented young guys WWE audiences are so slow to get behind. I was worried that Van Dam was gonna come back in his dumpy Impact Wrestling shape and just hurt everybody and win the briefcase, and that didn’t happen. He didn’t do a lot, honestly. Just showed up, pointed to himself a little, threw some kicks and ate an RKO. Totally fine with that.

In fact, one of my favorite moments in the match was his extremely slow, concerning climb to the top of a ladder for a Five Star Frog Splash, and the hilarious Two-ish Star Frog Splash that happened. Watching the show, it reminded me of Randy the Ram’s final Ram Jam from The Wrestler. The screen should’ve just gone black when Van Dam was in the air, and Raw should’ve opened with Cole and Lawler wondering aloud about whether or not that means he’s dead. Also, Ernest Miller would be there.

Advice to RVD, though: cut it out with the Rolling Thunder. You are too old to pull that move off with grace, and I don’t like you, but I’m not interested in watching you break your own neck.

Best: Daniel Bryan Rules, Or
Worst: Welcome To Your Curtis Axel Feud, Daniel Bryan

The Best is self-explanatory. Daniel Bryan’s been at his best lately with those KILL EVERYBODY IN THE RING sprints, and I’m happy he got to dismantle the entire WWE All-Stars line-up and send Sheamus crashing through a ladder to the ground funny bone-first as a bonus. The truth is that Daniel Bryan doesn’t NEED the Money in the Bank briefcase or the WWE Championship, because he’s already the best and most popular wrestler on the show. As a fan of his I want to SEE him win and win titles, but wrestling isn’t real, and he’s as good as it gets.

But yo, nothing takes the wind out of your sails faster than your favorite wrestler having victory snatched away from him by a randomly-occurring CURTIS AXEL, emerging from the undercard ether to do his crummy neckbreaker and end the championship dreams of the best guy in the company. At least Punk was smart enough to immediately dispatch him, which led to the ACTUAL best moment of the match:

Best: The Heyman Turn Was Obvious, But Wonderful

Paul Heyman climbing into the ring and yanking CM Punk off the ladder was basically the most obvious thing they’ve ever done, but it was a necessary step in the story, and it was brilliantly done. Heyman was ruthless, responding to Punk’s betrayed, confused expression with a brutal ladder shot to the face. Punk bled (which I’m not gonna forget, no matter how fast they cut away and send somebody over with a roll of paper towels), Heyman cemented himself a CHAOTIC EVIL, and now CM Punk gets to not only face Brock Lesnar, but Lesnar and his collection of cronies. Punk and Bryan teaming up to take on Lesnar, Axel and Heyman? Yes please. Yes please forever.

Worst: Barf


Best: At Least Randy Orton And John Cena Will Be Confined To The Same Segment

The new way to maintain your spot at the top of WWE cards: get a divorce. It worked for Cena. The stipulation of the Cena/Orton Money in the Bank cash-in match should be “winner gets a happy relationship.”

Best: Top 10 Comments Of The Night


Don’t be upset guys; tomorrow on RAW, Sandow will give a dissertation on why it was the ethical thing to drop Cody and take the briefcase; it will be logic enough for Rhodes to agree, leading them to make peace.


I can’t stand seeing Ben Roethlisberger win anything, so f**k Curtis Axel.


Total Divas? ugh. Why would I watch something that’s totally scripted like that.


What is the opposite of a victory lap? Because that’s what Jericho is in the middle of.

Afternoon Delight

Jericho is Richard Pryor in the ring but Dane Cook on the mic


So you paid $60 for this show? Here, enjoy a week-old youtube video about our sexual harassment gym.


The Salmon Retirement > The Red Wedding

Jean Ralphio Saperstein

Nobody’s hairline gets higher than RVD


Dream scenario. Orton and Sheamus get knocked out, then Punk, Bryan, Christian and I travel the country in a van solving mysteries


Christian started applying that Killswitch back when Van Dam was relevant